The Midnight Witch by Paula Brackston is another in the line of novels by Brackston that centers on the lives of witches and their survival in a world that does not accept them. I first read the The Witch’s Daughter and found that novel well told and intriguing. Unfortunately I cannot say the same for this one.
“…The dead are seldom silent. All that is required for them to be heard is that someone be willing to listen. I have been listening to the dead all my life…”
The Duke of Radnor is dead and while his place in London society is now given to his son, it is his place as Head Witch of the Lazarus Coven where the true power lies. That position goes to his daughter, Lilith. Young, beautiful and engaged to the heir to a powerful witch family, Lilith must step into the role and take under power the secret of the Lazarus Coven. Not only does the Coven speak with the dead, they have the power to resurrect them as well.
But there is a threat to the Coven and they see the death of the Duke and the new young Head Witch as the opportunity to strike. They are called the Sentinels, necromancers who wish to take the secrets and the power of the Lazarus Coven to be their own.
Lilith knows she must be ready to face this threat. But she has her own life to care for as well. She begins to realize that the marriage that has been arranged for her will make her unhappy and even more so when she meets the artist she falls in love with. A very human and very non-witch artist. The Lazarus creed demands secrecy and silence. Lilith will find herself struggling to keep both as her brother and lover are threatened.
Late in the book, Lilith cries out to her lover and says something like, “…we have been tricked, I have been so stupid…” and that pretty much sums up her character. Lilith has one job as Head Witch. Keep the elixir that brings back the dead secret and keep silent about being a witch and the coven. It takes a kiss and a little attention from a guy and she gives up both.
Everything she is told not to do, by the coven and her dead father, she ends up doing but that is okay because she is in love and she is doing it to save her brother and her lover and ….and she is stupid. Almost everything that happens against Lilith in this book, she brings on herself. Her brother’s death is a direct result of his opium addiction. Her reasoning to bring his back to life, against every rule of her coven, puts not only herself and her brother in danger, but the coven itself. She broke her covenant of secrecy and silence.
It doesn’t take long to lose touch with this book. Not from the witchcraft or the supernatural aspect, but with Lilith herself.
The Midnight Witch is a good example of a YA book that relies upon heavily upon past successes and the popularity of witchcraft and the supernatural in romance novels. But if you are going to write and market a novel with a young strong lead female character, then make her a strong lead character.
Not a good read.